Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Sad Farewell to Borders

As a Borders Rewards Member, I received this email today from
the CEO of Borders. Borders is going out of business. Earlier
this year, our store in Grand Junction closed it's doors, and now
all locations across the country will be doing the same. Back in
1988, I made my first purchase at their flagship,
and original store in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It was a hardcover copy
of James Michener's "Hawaii" that I had to special order. I loved the
store, and everything it offered. This was years before ordering books
on Amazon was even a twinkle in the internet's eye. In fact, the
internet wouldn't even start to become popular for years to come.
Today, 23 years later, the entire business is going away. Mostly
because it couldn't keep up with internet sales and the emergence
of e-readers. Borders is going away...and it will be missed.

Dear Borders Rewards Member

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, Borders will be closing its
doors after more than 40 years of igniting the love of reading in
generations of customers. I am sorry to have to share this news
with you as I feel you have been here right along with us as we
fought valiantly to save the company. I want to personally thank
you for your loyalty and support, whether you were one of the
nearly 1.8 million customers who signed up for the Borders Rewards
Plus program, shopped in our stores or on, or simply
took the time to e-mail or call the company to express your support.

You might be asking yourself, what happened? How could it be that
there won’t be a Borders moving forward? In a nutshell, following
continued negotiations and the best efforts from all parties, no
bidders presented a formal proposal to keep our company operating
as a going concern. Therefore, under the terms of our
debtor-in-possession financing agreement, we presented to the
court for approval the proposal for firms to purchase our stores’
assets and administer the liquidation process.

We had worked very hard toward a different outcome. The fact is
that Borders has been facing headwinds for quite some time,
including a rapidly changing book industry, the eReader revolution,
and a turbulent economy. We put up a great fight, but regrettably,
in the end, we weren’t able to overcome these external forces.

Going out of business sales begin in stores Friday, July 22. I encourage
you to take advantage of this one-time opportunity to find exceptional
discounts on your favorite books and other great merchandise. Gift
cards will be honored during the liquidation sales, and Borders Rewards
Plus members will continue to enjoy their Borders Rewards Plus discounts
through August 5. Further, all Borders Bucks will be honored until they
expire on July 31.

For decades, Borders stores have been destinations within communities—
places where people have sought knowledge, entertainment and enlightenment
and connected with others who share their passions. I feel privileged to have
had the opportunity to lead Borders and play a role in the true and noble cause
of expanding access to books and promoting the joy of reading. As a company,
we cannot thank you enough for giving us the opportunity to serve you and the
millions of other customers who have shopped our stores over the years. My
sincerest hope is that we remain in the hearts of readers for years to come.

Many thanks,

Mike Edwards
CEO of Borders

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